Tips on supporting your memory – Memory Assessment and Management Service – Educational Group

The Memory Assessment and Management Service provide a range of intervention groups. If one is suitable for you, one of our clinicians will discuss this you, and refer you to the group, if appropriate. If you are unable to attend, this resources may be helpful to you and your carers.

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  • Tips on supporting your memory

    This leaflet aims to provide quick advice on what you can do to with regards to common problems people with a memory problem commonly develop.

  • Memory problems

    What might help
    1. Have a routine
    2. Keep items in the same place, e.g. keys, glasses
    3. Take notes, e.g. use shopping lists
    4. Use memory aids – diaries, post-it notes, calendars, notice boards
    5. Repeat information
    6. Use prompts and cues

  • Difficulties with reading and writing

    What might help
    1. Ask family to read things out.
    2. Offer help to write e.g. cards.

  • Difficulties finding words or understanding speech

    What might help
    1. Give yourself extra time to respond
    2. Use non-verbal communication: gestures, pointing, showing
    3. Make use of pictures
    4. For family – try to talk slowly and clearly!
    5. Rephrase questions, make them simpler
    6. Try not to answer for the person

  • Difficulties recognising objects, colours etc

    What might help

    1. Good organisation – keep things in the same place if possible
    2. Good contrast and lighting; make sure things you need stand out eg dark crockery on a white tablecloth
    3. Use other senses and find non-visual activities eg describe things to the person, singing and dancing are good activities
    4. For family – give the person more time to see and adjust

  • Difficulties dressing, judging distances, recognising people

    What might help
    1. Get help with sequencing tasks (do things step by step, e.g. dressing)
    2. Focus on the steps involved in a task and not on the end result
    3. For family – give the person more time, use gentle guiding, give reminders

  • Difficulties with problem solving and distractibility

    What might help
    1. Do one task at a time
    2. Break down tasks step by step, allow more time
    3. Reduce distractions to help focus attention eg remove background noise eg TV, radio or other conversations
    4. Help the person to get started by providing prompts and setting things out eg put items required for preparing a meal out in order
    5. You can use written instructions

  • Difficulties controlling emotions or behaviour

    What might help
    1. Family to remember that this might be related to the dementia and not done on purpose.
    2. Someone may be feeling sad or frustrated because of their memory problems and it may help to talk about this.
    3. If a task is getting you all worked up (you or your carer), have a break if possible, and return to it later when feeling calmer. This is more likely to be successful.

  • General tips

    If you have a memory illness, make sure you…
    – Keep doing things you enjoy;
    – Socialise, have fun and are active!
    – Look after your health and your diet;
    – Try not to get embarrassed if you forget something;
    – Talk to others if you notice that you are becoming low in mood or anxious;
    – Do one thing at a time and break tasks down;
    – Take your time – there is no need to hurry;
    – Don’t be too hard on yourself;
    – Focus on enjoyment and participation rather than achievement;
    – Identify which time of day is best for you.

    For family and friends, make sure you…
    – Also keep doing activities you enjoy – you need to look after yourself;
    – Find ways to support the memory problems, but do not take over;
    – You can help your loved one by starting an activity;
    – You could help by demonstrating and supporting through difficult parts;
    – Take a team approach and do tasks together;
    – Maybe join a carers group – it can be good to get more support.

  • Information about content, other formats and version control

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre

    2024 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

    Ref, PIC/842/0124 January 2024 V2 Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Review date 2027

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